Talking tech since 2003

Everyday, technology is becoming more advanced and new innovations continue to provide exciting possibilities that help make life much easier. If you’re an entrepreneur, it can be overwhelming to constantly keep up with the new trends, not to mention costly.

It is not uncommon for a business owner like you to find yourself investing heavily on a high-end piece of technology, only to find out that a newer version has already come out in the market. This is one reason why most entrepreneurs just tend to focus on the obvious tech solutions but often overlook other technologies that could potentially provide a significant impact on the company.

However, adopting new innovations does not always mean taking on a huge project. There are evolving business tech that can be easily implemented to help grow your business.  Here’s a list of some things you might have missed.

1. Remote Diagnostics

The printer is probably one of the most necessary equipment in the office. Whether a business is a multinational conglomerate or just a boutique-sized company – many daily activities depend on this workplace workhorse. But what happens when the printer breaks down?

The old process of getting the office printer fixed is often a lengthy process. You would need to request a technician onsite to evaluate the problem and it would usually take several more days or even weeks to get the machine up and running again.

Business managers usually overlook how this seemingly small problem often cause a lot of stress for employees, as well as time and money for the company. Even if there’s a backup machine, the printer failure will surely cause a disruption in the workflow of everyone affected. Tasks are delayed and productivity is compromised.

With technology, this delay could be minimized considerably. The implementation of remote diagnostics can significantly save time and money for companies. Remote diagnostics is often employed by many industries including medical, IT, communications, transportation, printing, and many more. Without the need for a technician to be physically present, this service allows experts to troubleshoot the issue using phone, video conferencing, messaging or data access tools. Remote diagnostics can help you avoid downtime, minimize delays, and increase productivity at the same time.

2. Vending Machine Technology

You may not have noticed it, but the humble vending machine has changed a lot over the years. From equipment that only dispenses food and drink, it has evolved into an invaluable mechanism that can help automate business processes.

In different parts of the world, vending machines are being used to dispense different items – from makeup, clothes, toys, electronics and even gold. For bigger companies with different business departments, utilizing a vending machine can greatly help speed up processes and eliminate the need for additional manpower or resources.

Global tech giant Facebook was one of the companies who pioneered the use of vending machines in their IT department. The company observed how the process of manually requesting replacement IT accessories was tedious and lengthy as employees needed to go through various requests and approvals. In 2011, they decided to use a vending machine wherein an employee just needed to swipe an ID badge to get a replacement device. This move reportedly reduced Facebook’s cost of managing replacement accessories by about 35%.

3. Business Automation Tools

As your business grows, the demand for time and resources also increases. However, if you’re a one-man entrepreneur, hiring more employees may not always be an option. One solution that can greatly help you save time and manpower is by applying automation tools.

For marketing, using automation tools that can post updates on social media feeds, send email newsletters, and respond to client queries on messaging platforms are just some examples. For instance, if you have a Facebook page, use the built-in scheduler queue your posts weekly instead of always posting in real time. You can also use the auto-response tool in Facebook messenger to make sure that customers who send you messages will receive an instant response.

There are also different types of automation solutions that you can use to collect data, generate business reports, manage team projects, maintain financial accounts and many more. Using these automation tools can help you expand your business without the immediate need for more resources.

4. Inventory Management Tools

For businesses that deal with product sales, having an efficient ecommerce channel is vital. For new sellers, the priority is often focused on product visibility by utilizing SEO, However, sellers often underestimate the importance of inventory management. While product marketing and development is important, learning how to manage your inventory is equally critical.

If you are selling on Amazon and your products are under the FBA program, you can utilize Inventory Management Tools provided to proactively ensure that you’re keeping a healthy inventory. When sellers run out of inventory, their product page will come up as unavailable no matter what SEO techniques were employed.

Learning how to manage your inventory will allow you to view and access data about your products which can help you make better-informed decisions. These tools also allow you to perform various tasks such as view stock levels, add products, change pricing, change quantities, and track shipments.

5. Malware Protection

When was the last time you made sure that your laptop or computer was protected with an updated malware protection software? Many business owners are guilty of installing anti-virus software right after purchasing their machine, but fail to make the necessary updates later on.

According to the Cyber Streetwise Campaign by the UK government, two-thirds of business owners don’t think that they are vulnerable to cybercrime. However, this clear lack of understanding about how serious these threats are make them vulnerable to many cyber-attacks. In fact, a 2018 Verizon report found that 58% of malware victims are categorized as small businesses.

It is very important to make sure that your computer is protected against malware and attacks by installing the latest versions of software available. Many malware programs are becoming more sophisticated so that free anti-virus software you installed years back may not be that reliable anymore. Data loss and theft can be very expensive and can threaten business growth so it’s best to consult an IT professional if you are not a techie wiz.

6. E-Learning Training Courses

Establishing employee training programs can greatly benefit a company. These programs can increase productivity, improve employee satisfaction and loyalty, as well as provide many opportunities for the business. However, not all companies could afford to send their staff to trainings and seminars that usually cost a lot of money. This is why employee development is usually not a priority.

The availability of eLearning courses online has changed the landscape of education. There are now online programs that are available at a very reasonable cost. There are even free certifications being offered online by top universities which can be completed remotely and are self-paced. Tech companies like Google and Facebook also offer free programs with options for certification. Facebook has released Facebook Blueprint which can allow employees to become certified advertising buyers or planners for the platform. Having at least a learning plan in place is essential in case you need to extend your team. Let’s take an example: you would like to hire a CMA (Certified Management Accountant) but at the same time, you could also train your staff at this. It’s easy to choose a CMA course and sign them up for the exam (although some fees are applicable). This has the potential to save you time and money in the long-term.

Adapting a Tech-Savvy Business Mindset

Applying buzz-worthy technologies such as the Cloud, SEO, or Content Marketing in your business is always a good thing, but in doing so, don’t forget to explore other areas of your business that may also benefit from a tech upgrade. Being tech-savvy does not only pertain to implementing the latest technology, but also in how you maximize different solutions to drive your business forward.

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